I've been getting a lot of questions lately about microagressions. So microaggressions are slights and insults that make you feel persecuted. Taken separately, they're dismissible. Taken collectively they might contribute to a nervous breakdown. This term 'microaggression' is too new to be in your spell checker today, but the chatting classes are all over it.
I have some difficulty, despite my penchant for formality and many things erudite to see apply the adjective 'racist' to the term microagression, although I understand this is the entire point of raising awareness of this new first world problem. The difficulty stems from my thick skin (see Six Pounds of Racism) but also from my profound distaste for zero-tolerance and appreciation of the moral hazards therein.
The interesting difficulty with this particular bellweather, if it can appropriately be called that, is that one should expect to hear it testified to primarily from those folks with a greater presumable purchase in society. That is to say that this form of 'racism' particularly burns those folks in the upper classes of society. I think it should be obvious that thrown at someone like world-renowned scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the epithet 'nigger' would be considerably more painful to him than thrown at world-renowned rapper Snoop Dogg. I think it's reasonable to make this assumption based on their own public frequency in using the term themselves, although psychologically it's anybody's guess how thick anyone's skin is. That is the point of Six Pounds. Clearly however, those for whom 'microagression' is a debilitating issue have much more delicate sensibilities.
Whether or not one's psyche is weak or strong in this matter, the ubiquity of the chatting around microagression gives some people pause to reconsider the old chestnut that 'we are all of us racists deep down'. I defy that prescription, but I don't intend on proving it. I'm not so sure that the social soup I swim in is particularly characterized by its amenability to logical proofs, otherwise the microagression meme would have self-destructed at the mere mention of the term 'hate crime'. You would think that even the homicide count now slightly faded from memory of the #blacklivesmatter political flash mob would obliterate any discussion of microagression. But I suspect both mobs seek to reinforce each other in their never ending quest to 'have a serious national discussion about race'. That is, after all, their desire lo these many decades. The problem is, of course, that society doesn't take them as seriously as they would like to be taken. Chalk up one more frustration, as Bernie Sanders no dobut acknowledges, in the latent fury of activists desperate to snatch the mic.
So my little story goes a little something like this.
I am engaged to be married and I have flown across country from New York to fetch my fiancee, who lived at the time in a pleasant duplex on Beverly Glen in West LA. We pack up her Nissan Pulsar and hit the road on a cross-country journey back to New York. I love everything about her except her cat, Lucy which she took in just after the Northridge Quake sent animals scurrying in fright. Dog person that I am, even I can sympathize with that. Besides, I knew a cat was coming, one way or another so I have even decided to learn how to give the little beastie carsick pills. By the time we get to her hometown of Detroit, I've got the skill. Several days later, we wind up in Long Island and stay with my uncle one of its wooded suburbs while we hunt for apartments.
The cat gets loose. So now I have to be a good hubby to be and prove my love for the critter by hunting it down in this strange and foreboding place which is not-inexpensive suburb of Westbury, NY. I find myself creeping around this neighborhood peeking into people's yards and gardens. I have no idea where.. oh wait there she is. Lucky me I found her within 30 minutes of skulking around. Get the picture? Black man nobody knows from out of town checking around suspiciously in the bushes of million dollar houses. Of course I know I have a perfectly legitimate reason to be doing so. I have a cat to return, but what about the suspicious racist suburbanites of New York, and their evil henchmen in squad cars? Anyway, after some coaxing and a lot of bloody scratching, I've nabbed the cat and took her back to my fiancee. Huh? What do you mean that's not the right cat? I'm done. I have a laugh, some Bactine and a beer. I let the other cat go back in the yard where I found it. Two hours later, Lucy ambles back on her own. I hate cats.
But I wasn't questioned, detained, arrested or shot for prowling around a neighborhood in suburban New York and stealing somebody else's cat in a bold daylight robbery. Cats are more trouble than people. But only if you're me. Your mileage with the Prison Industrial Complex may differ. As for microaggression, I actually kidnapped somebody's cat. Am I going to Progressive Hell?